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J Nutr Biochem. 2011 Feb;22(2):118-29. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2009.12.006. Epub 2010 May 14.

White adipose tissue genome wide-expression profiling and adipocyte metabolic functions after soy protein consumption in rats.

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Departamento de Fisiología de la Nutrición, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, DF 14000, México.


Obesity is associated with an increase in adipose tissue mass due to an imbalance between high dietary energy intake and low physical activity; however, the type of dietary protein may contribute to its development. The aim of the present work was to study the effect of soy protein versus casein on white adipose tissue genome profiling, and the metabolic functions of adipocytes in rats with diet-induced obesity. The results showed that rats fed a Soy Protein High-Fat (Soy HF) diet gained less weight and had lower serum leptin concentration than rats fed a Casein High-Fat (Cas HF) diet, despite similar energy intake. Histological studies indicated that rats fed the Soy HF diet had significantly smaller adipocytes than those fed the Cas HF diet, and this was associated with a lower triglyceride/DNA content. Fatty acid synthesis in isolated adipocytes was reduced by the amount of fat consumed but not by the type of protein ingested. Expression of genes of fatty acid oxidation increased in adipose tissue of rats fed Soy diets; microarray analysis revealed that Soy protein consumption modified the expression of 90 genes involved in metabolic functions and inflammatory response in adipose tissue. Network analysis showed that the expression of leptin was regulated by the type of dietary protein and it was identified as a central regulator of the expression of lipid metabolism genes in adipose tissue. Thus, soy maintains the size and metabolic functions of adipose tissue through biochemical adaptations, adipokine secretion, and global changes in gene expression.

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